In a historic move, MPs have voted to change the law in favour of three-way parenting
As early as next year, the controversial IVF technique that allows the creation of babies with DNA from two women and one man could be in place.
The procedure, first developed by British scientists, is currently banned, but is proven to prevent genetic diseases being passed from mother to child. These include muscular dystrophy. It is deemed controversial because it would result in babies having two mothers, effectively, and one father.
The motion requires a second vote be passed in the House of Lords but it is unlikely that this will cause any disruption to the amendment.
On this proviso, the first baby of three parents could be born as early as next year.
“We’re not playing god here, we’re just making sure that two parents who want a healthy baby can have one,” the Prime Minister said.
“In principal I don’t have any objection to this at all,” Lee Wright, Senior Lecturer in Midwifery and Women’s Health at Birmingham City University said. “It’s one area where genetic manipulation can make a huge difference to a great deal of potential suffering from children with serious disorders.”
“The UK has some of the very tightest and most rigorous legislation around the manipulation of human embryos so I am confident that the appropriate legislation to regulate this is already in place.”
Although 44 MEPs wrote an open letter to Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, to express concerns about the procedure, MPs voted in favour 382 to 128 against.
“All reasonable and rigorous steps have been followed to reach this point,” said Health Minister Jane Ellison. “This is a bold step for parliament to take but it is considered an informed step. For many families affected it is light at the end of a very dark tunnel.”
Estimates suggest 150 three-parent babies could be born each year, supporting families across the country.